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Of Friends and Follower Boxes

I’m still Twitterless. At least, I was until I discovered that, in the lingo of social networking, a Twitterer can be de-Twittered. Just when I was follower_boxconniving a community of Twitter separatists, someone snagged the URL. Shucks!  Accordingly, Twiterless “Keeps track of your followers,” specifically when “someone stops following” you… and in our ever-expanding universe of giga-groupies, keeping an eye on your digital wake is a must.

It’s the flip-side of Follower boxes. You’ve seen Follower boxes, right? Well, now you can stalk, er, track, ex-followers. Someone unhappy with your Twitter feed? Well, maybe they weren’t really your “friend” to begin with.

Does anyone feel as awkward about these Follower boxes as me? I get the building a vertical fan base idea. Especially for a writer. But does that require my readers show their ID? Asking serious devotees to “stop lurking” and “step forward” with their pledge of allegiance just seems a bit weird. Besides, what if I install a Follower box and no one follows? And isn’t that the saddest thing — a Follower box with 5 followers: two relatives, two spammers, and the author.

Face it: Many people “follow” an author in hopes of being “followed” by someone else. I mean, having my Profile in with a gaggle of others on some New York Times best-selling author’s blog might land me a few looks. But as far as being a real “friend,” well, that’s negotiable.

Okay, so maybe I’m just afraid of rejection. After all, I was the kid that no one wanted on their kickball team. Still, I can’t help but feel that this Twittering, Follower-finding, social-networking thingy is slowly distorting our concept of “friendship.” All right, so I’m being anal. Or maybe it’s just me asking that deeply human, privately painful question — Will you really be my friend?

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Nicole June 12, 2009, 6:06 PM

    You know I am, Mike! 😉

  • Ben H June 13, 2009, 1:43 AM

    I agree that the social networking craze can get a little weird. Still don't Twitter. Find it a waste of time. But I do follow certain authors, and think it's one of the cool things the web has opened up.

  • Mike Duran June 13, 2009, 2:50 AM

    Well, Ben H, I agree about "following" certain authors. I mean, I like to read their posts, books, or articles, whether for information, inspiration, or entertainment. But I still haven't added my icon to one of these sidebar "communities." I dunno. It just seems… groupie-ish. Especially when one's "status" is gauged by the number of avatars.

  • Mike Ehret June 15, 2009, 10:02 AM

    Good post, Mike. I don't "friend" everyone who asks in Facebook, either. And Twitter? Not getting it at all. My friends, the real ones, are too important to me to just add "friends" indiscriminately. I've had people I've never heard of ask to be my friend on Facebook. Why? For whatever reason they want to add my name to their "list" — and some people just like to say to themselves that they have 457 (or however many) friends. Hmmmm….

    • Mike Duran June 15, 2009, 1:28 PM

      You make a good point, Mike, about the "friending" on Facebook. I will accept friend requests for people I know personally, am referred to by someone I know, share similar interests or career objectives with, or am personally a fan of. At the moment, it still leaves me with folks "pending" acceptance. Do I just decline or shrug it off and befriend Joe Blow? I think you're absolutely right about people accepting every friend request simply because they see a large number as lending some type of profile cred.

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